Browsing: Interviews

PREVIEW: of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn at 100, at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, Monday, November 19, 7:30 p.m.; and INTERVIEW: with pianist and conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn, son of Nobel Prize-winning author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the heroic anti-Soviet dissident whose vital and uncompromising documentation of the horrors of the Stalinist police state won the 1970 Nobel Prize for literature and provided indispensable impetus to the forces that brought on the communist regime’s late 20th-century downfall, would have turned 100 this December 11. In what promises to be an especially rich, personal and heartfelt early celebration of that centenary, New York City’s…

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REVIEW: of The Anchoress, a world premiere of a new musical monodrama/song cycle composed by David Serkin Ludwig with text by Katie Ford, performed by soprano Hyunah Yu, accompanied by saxophone quartet PRISM and ancient-instrument ensemble Piffaro; on Wednesday, October 17, at the Perelman Theatre of Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and on Thursday, October 18, at New York City’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music (the latter performance reviewed here); and INTERVIEWS: with composer David Ludwig and poet Katie Ford. The impulse to retreat from the world in search of spiritual insight or purity has manifested throughout human history. Twenty-one centuries of Christianity…

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PREVIEW: of a public workshop performance with orchestra of the new opera Taking Up Serpents – libretto by Jerre Dye, score by Kamala Sankaram; presented by MassOpera, Boston; Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 3 p.m.; Deane Hall at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts (527 Tremont Street, Boston); the opera is a commission of the Washington National Opera and this workshop is presented by MassOpera. In the final passages of St. Mark’s Gospel, Christ declares that a hallmark among his true believers shall be a willingness that “they shall take up serpents!” And in certain quarters…

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PREVIEW: of the new opera, PermaDeath, by Cerise Lim Jacobs and Dan Visconti, which will play Boston’s Cutler Majestic Theatre for three performances, September 27, 28 and 29, 2018. The theater dims. A martial blare and glistening orchestral clamor suddenly rives the murmuring darkness, and a bewildering vista of strange, vast landscape floods the stage. Two beautiful, luminous, titanic beings – the sibling gods Apollo and Artemis – are in pitched battle with the massive, earthen Niobe and her fourteen grotesque offspring. The stuff of mythic dreams? Yes. But it’s also the planned dazzler of an opening for the new…

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Back in our April issue, Wah Keung Chan and I predicted that John Brancy would be one of the winners of the 2018 CMIM. I met the American baritone with pianist Peter Dugan two days before the Aria division finals. Brancy won First Prize in the Art Song division and the French Mélodie Award. Is vocal technique different for opera and art song? John: Absolutely. When I was singing mélodies at Bourgie Hall, I was able to play with the hall; it had the acoustics that allow the performer do that. I could go ‘off the voice’ and into pure…

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Musica Camerata has been passionately and diligently introducing us to less familiar musical works for almost half a century. The eight musicians, hailing mostly from the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM), strengthen their reputation year after year. As the group looks ahead to a new season, here’s an interview with artistic director Luis Grinhauz. Which musical discoveries have stood out for you? Over time, we have discovered new composers; other ensembles have taken our lead and have featured them in their own concerts. Examples include Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz, a key musician like Leoš Janáček, and a group of late…

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I first heard Philippe Sly at the 2012 Concours musical international de Montréal. He was only 23, but that didn’t prevent him from winning every prize: First overall, best Quebec artist, best Canadian, best interpretation of an imposed Canadian art song and the Radio-Canada People’s Choice Award. I met him more than six years later on a hot summer day at his place in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve quarter, which has also enjoyed a recent cultural awakening. Sly reminisces: “The first thing I remember about opera was actually going to an operetta when I was seven years old in Ottawa.  I was…

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PREVIEW: of the 2018 dell’Arte Opera Ensemble Summer Festival Season, “Mozart & Salieri,” at New York City’s LaMaMa (66 East 4th Street), August 11 through 26; and INTERVIEWS: with company founder and artistic director, maestro Chris Fecteau, and dell’Arte 2018 creative team members Brittany Goodwin and Catherine O’Shaughnessy. This company is ready to rumble. Call it the Thrilla from Vienna: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, that most bruited matchup of 18th Century musical titans, is slated for a redux this month – this time in 21st Century New York, courtesy of the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. Grab a ringside seat.…

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REVIEW: of the 2018 Bard SummerScape production of Anton Rubinstein’s 1871 opera Demon; and INTERVIEW: with Dr. Leon Botstein (American Symphony Orchestra founder and SummerScape festival artistic director). A warning to all princes of the Caucasus – lock up your daughters! The devil is on the prowl, and he’s feeling amorous. Russian composer Anton Rubinstein’s 1871 opera, Demon, weaves a fascinating yarn of ultimate forbidden love. Based on an earlier, censored poem by Russian poetic genius Mikhail Lermontov, a demon (depicted as the very model of the proud, lonely, passionate Byronic tragic hero) finds himself smitten by the beauty of…

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INTERVIEW: with renowned composer John Rutter. Mark it a red-letter day in the Canadian classical music calendar: on Friday the 13th of July, John Rutter – among the world’s most beloved and widely performed living composers – arrives in Ottawa. “I feel very much at home in Canada,” Rutter says from his home in Great Britain. “I was quite a regular visitor in past years, when I was patron of the Toronto Mendelsohn Youth Choir. But this will be my first trip to Ottawa, and I’m very much looking forward to it.” It’s a journey occasioned by the two back-to-back…

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